Self-Driving Uber Kills Pedestrian in Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO — A woman in Tempe, Ariz., has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber, in what appears to be the first known death of a pedestrian struck by an autonomous vehicle on a public road.

The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the Tempe police said in a statement.

The incident happened on Sunday around 10 p.m.

Uber said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

The woman, whom Bloomberg has identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was transferred to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Video of the scene from ABC15 shows a self-driving Uber SUV with a damaged hood and right front fender. A bicycle with a bent rim lies on the sidewalk nearby.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will send a team to investigate the incident.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family,” Uber said in a statement released on Twitter. “We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.”

Sources: The San Francisco Chronicle, ABC15 News, Bloomberg News

Accidents Involving Autonomous Vehicles

This fatal collision is expected to raise even more questions about liability and safety regulations for autonomous vehicles. The testing of self-driving vehicle with a capable driver in the cockpit is not news, and has been going on for some time. Currently, however, several states are starting to allow testing of fully autonomous vehicles, meaning self-driving cars without a human back up driver. This month, California will allow companies to test vehicles without a person in the driver’s seat.

For those who use ride-sharing companies like Uber, it is important to know what to do if you are ever involved in an accident, understand who is at fault in the event of a ride-sharing crash, and how to receive payment for any injuries or other losses you sustain. The same is true for all drivers, however, as you never know which vehicles you encounter on the road will be driverless these days.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle, you probably have lots of questions. At the Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley, we have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate your case. Contact us today for a FREE CASE EVALUATION